Blog Category

Tag: Osteoarthritis

Conditions General Hands

What is the Difference Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Read Blog

The differences between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are significant, but the ability to identify one over the other can be somewhat elusive to the general public. A proper diagnosis is crucial for effective arthritis treatment.

The symptoms of these two common forms of arthritis may be similar, but the conditions are actually very different.

The word “arthritis” itself isn’t as much of a diagnosis as a description of more than 100 different types of ailments that involve joint pain or inflammation. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are two of the most common forms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 32.5 million U.S. adults suffer from osteoarthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis affects more than 1.3 million adults in the U.S.

To help you communicate your concerns to Dr. Arora, we offer the following comparison as a guide.

What is Osteoarthritis?

In very general terms, osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in a joint wears out. It usually begins in one joint and may never affect other joints.

The pain can be mild, moderate, or severe. Moderate or severe osteoarthritis pain can make it difficult for patients to complete everyday activities, such as buttoning a shirt or tying their shoes.

It is most common among women and occurs more frequently as people get older. Other risk factors for osteoarthritis include obesity, genetics, and joint injury or overuse.

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. When this occurs, the immune system essentially “malfunctions” and attacks the synovial membrane that encases and protects the joints. It frequently affect several joints at the same time.

Beyond the pain, inflammation, and swelling common in other forms of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis symptoms may include fever, anemia, fatigue, and loss of appetite. Rheumatoid arthritis may also show signs in the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, kidneys, salivary glands, nerve tissue, bone marrow, and blood vessels. It tends to be symmetrical, so symptoms may occur on both sides of the body simultaneously.

This form of arthritis is a chronic condition. There is no cure, and it is likely to progress over time. However, treatment options can reduce pain, make the symptoms manageable, and prevent significant joint damage.

Women are more likely to develop RA than men are. RA can begin at any age but most commonly starts in middle age. Other risk factors for rheumatoid arthritis include family history, smoking, and excess weight.

4 Key Differences Between Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis

1. Number of Joints Affected

Osteoarthritis may only affect one joint. Rheumatoid arthritis may affect several at the same time.

2. Symmetry

Rheumatoid arthritis tends to be symmetrical, meaning it affects both elbows, for instance. Osteoarthritis is more centralized, so it might or might not affect both sides of the body.

However, both sides of the body may become affected due to the exertion of too much pressure on one side. For example, if you experience osteoarthritis pain in your left wrist, you may use your right wrist more often, eventually causing the right wrist to act up as well.

3. Duration of Symptoms

The duration and extent of the pain is different.

With RA, joint pain and swelling can come and go, but the disease never really goes away. The goal of rheumatoid arthritis treatment is to make you feel better and get your symptoms under control, known as “remission.”

Osteoarthritis is also permanent and the pain and swelling are similar, but the condition can improve over time.

4. Additional Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis may have symptoms such as fever, fatigue, anemia, and loss of appetite. Osteoarthritis is usually only pain, swelling, and some loss of flexibility in the particular joint that is affected at the time.

If you are experiencing arthritis pain in your hands, wrists, or elbows, it’s important to determine the type of arthritis in order to create the best treatment and prevention plan for you. For an evaluation, diagnosis, and arthritis treatment, make an appointment to see Dr. Arora in Warren, West Bloomfield, Howell, or Macomb Township.


Osteoarthritis and Your Hands

Read Blog

Arthritis appears in many different variations. Some types of arthritis can show up in any region of the body, some strike single joints are locations, and some appear only when a joint or limb has been damaged or injured. One of the most common types of arthritis is the variety known as osteoarthritis, and when it appears in the hands it usually does so in a limited number of places.

The most common spots for osteoarthritis to appear in your hands are the end joints closes to the tip of the finger (technically known as the DIP joint); the base of the thumb where it meets the wrist (known officially as the trapezio-metacarpal or basilar joints); and the joint in the middle of a finger (called the PIP joint).

Though it may show up in other areas, including the wrist, it is most likely to develop in the spots listed.

It is not like rheumatoid arthritis that attacks the synovium, but is instead a “wear and tear” type of arthritis that causes inflammation due to the loss of the cartilage between the different joints. In osteoarthritis, which is known as a degenerative condition, the pads of cartilage between bones wear down or are damaged and then begin to degrade. This leaves your bones actually rubbing against one another, and it can cause a long list of symptoms.

The Signs of Osteoarthritis

Obviously, the most common symptom associated with two bones rubbing together is pain, but many people with osteoarthritis in the hands will experience stiffness, an inability to flex or move the affected joint, tenderness in the joint, bone spurs, and an obvious sense of the two bones grating against one another (, 2015).

Bone spurs or bony nodules are very noticeable when you have osteoarthritis of the hands, and you will notice the unnatural swelling at the joints most commonly affected. The sense of pain is often described as aching, but many also complain of a loss in the ability to grip tightly or have much strength in the hands too.

Treating the Condition

As in other arthritis treatments, the focus of the treatment of osteoarthritis in the hands is to alleviate pain when present while also restoring or maintaining function. To do this requires a few different tactics, and it is only after a visit to your hand doctor that a full and proper regimen can be developed.

You may be given anti-inflammatory medications and instructed to use rest whenever any swelling occurs. Further modalities might include the use of heat and hot wax treatments, splints, and other therapies. It is also not unusual for steroid injections to be relied upon to help with movement and swelling. The only reason that a doctor may suggest surgery is when pain is not alleviated through more conservative treatments or when movement and function have been lost.

Osteoarthritis is not something you can easily avoid, but it is treatable. A visit to your hand doctor at the first signs of stiffness or swelling can put you on the track to protection of the joints and treatments that protect your hands function.

Source Osteoarthritis Symptoms. 2015.

Get on the List




Read All

Dr. Aroras office from my first call to schedule my appointment was friendly. Walking in the first day, I felt like I was in a nice atmosphere. Dr. Arora was EXCELLENT in taking great care of my hand injury. He was gentle and very understanding to the concerns I had about my hand. His expertise was admirable and I would recommend anyone with an injury to their hand to his office to be under his care. Because of him, I have healed faster than expected and will make an 100% recovery! Thank you Dr.

Jackie S.

I first thought I was going to have to have painful injections or surgery, but Dr. Arora suggested physical therapy may do the trick. I was doubtful, but I agreed to do it. Now, my pain is gone, and with the help of an ergonomic keyboard at work to keep my hands in the correct position, I am virtually pain free. The therapy strengthened my wrists and shoulders, and built more flexibility into my wrists.

Jerry T.

My experience with this doctor was positive from the outset. Dr. Arora was kind and spent a great deal of time with me. Staff was friendly. The office was nice and bright.

Ariel G.

Very friendly and helpful Great staff!!! Doctor Arora was very professional and did great work. I was very happy with everything!

L B.